Car Dealer Live welcomed Mission Motorsport founder and CEO James Cameron for a live interview today (Apr 5) and he was brimming with positivity.
Cameron – who has a fascinating background in the military and automotive industries – talked to us about what he thinks dealers and the wider automotive industry can do to help communities during the coronavirus crisis.
He also spoke about the amazing work Mission Motorsport does to help former armed forces personnel ‘race, retrain and recover’ through sport.
During his interview with Car Dealer editor James Baggott, Cameron had plenty of ideas and advice for businesses looking to make a difference right now.
One thing he was absolutely adamant about – ‘Better days are coming’. He said the crisis was ‘a catalyst for change’ and that dealerships could use this ‘enforced pause’ to plan for the future with their key teams so that they ’emerge stronger, better and more equipped for the world in which we are all going to find ourselves’.
Cameron joined the army in 1995, serving 17 years including five operational tours in the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan, latterly commanding the Armoured Group in 2010-2011 for which he was mentioned in dispatches.
He was keen to promote dealers using the pandemic as a period in which to reflect about the days ahead, saying: ‘If you run a dealership now you’ve got the most enormous luxury – you’re not having to do many of the things you do normally. Take the time, have that ‘‘Hamlet’’ moment, sit back and think about what you want your business to look like.’
This applied to employees and business owners too. With many companies having to furlough staff to save costs, Cameron stated that owners should still be keeping these employees ticking over, as well as planning on how they will be re-integrated into the business when it’s possible to do so, saying how ‘planning for them and how they’re going to return to work is entirely possible in furloughing. Don’t let them sit at home leaving them feeling disenfranchised – get them working on your behalf on how to make a change at the other side of the crisis.’
In fact, Cameron believes that dealers should ‘wargame it’, and use the time available to them now to comprehensively re-evaluate the way their businesses operate. Business owners need to be asking themselves ‘what does the new normal look like?’ and ‘how can I use this tragic event as a catalyst for change within my business?’, according to Cameron, who predicted a seismic shift in the way the industry operates at the other end of the pandemic.
‘The way we interact with others, the way we do our business and the way online is going to be crucial. They are going to shape the future of automotive retail. We have a chance to reset,’ he said, urging dealers not to focus on trying to make the most of the ‘reducing window of opportunity to trade’ but to instead ready themselves for the future.
And the role of a leader doesn’t just reside in the dealership either, with Cameron stating: ‘We’ve all got a leading role in our own households. The coronavirus doesn’t live, so it doesn’t spread itself – we spread it. To that end, the battlefield is in our own homes.’
He urged dealers to plan ahead, take stock and use the team around them to come up with new and innovative ideas on how dealerships could operate once the worst is over, adding: ‘The biggest thing we can do to help is to shift the way people think and shift the way that they plan’.
And while many may feel overwhelmed by the crisis and its all-encompassing effect on daily life, Cameron was keen to add that dealers ‘need to stop trying to stop the things you can’t change, and instead plan for the things you can – it’s going to help your business greatly.’
If you want to know more about Cameron and his thoughts on the crisis, check out this brilliant thread of his on Twitter:
COVID-19 Why we are right to be scared, and what we can do about it. A thread.
Who the hell am I? I’m a former Army officer who runs a charity these days, and isn’t a scientist. 1/15 pic.twitter.com/MZisrQaZMh
— James Cameron (@Tankslider) March 15, 2020
The broadcast can be watched at the top of this page.
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